As the mother of a 9 year old with Asperger's Syndrome every day brings its own unique blend of differing behaviours, some often funny and intriguing, and some very recently that are very disturbing.
As any parent with an AS child knows, their limited ability to deal with emotion/change/confined situations etc can manifest in a number of ways.
Up until recently my son's frustration was limited to an 'occasional vocal outburst' or total withdrawal from any situation he felt uncomfortable with.
Now however I am encroaching on new territory - violent/aggressive outbursts.
I think the difficulty in dealing with a child with AS is that these outbursts can manifest at any time - often lasting for a short amount of time and resulting in the people around them being very upset whilst the child in question cannot even recall that the outburst even occurred or why it occurred.
I am looking for ways in which to re-educate or re-direct my son into dealing with these frustrations in a less agressive/violent way whilst still being sympathetic to his underlying needs.
I am fundamentally aware that I must deal with this situation NOW, as I cannot accept his behaviour when he is being violent towards his older sister whom up until recently had never ever hit/struck in his life.
Do I seek help from a behavioural therapist? A counsellor? Does anyone have any techniques that they feel may help me?
ANY help would be greatly appreciated as trips out are a no-go at the moment due to his erratic violence and the stable mood at home has been somewhat displaced....
I have a son with aspergers and now my grandson is going to be diagnosed by the school psychologist within the next month. My son didnt exhibit the agressive behaviors but my grandson is. My daughter has been working with the school counselor and applying the techniques at home and school with some success. Redirecting him seems to be helpful but also offering different strategies and having him try those also seems to help. There are days though that he goes in to school upset and it's hard to bring him out of it. He has mentioned that the older school girls wear perfume ane he can't stand to ride with them. The kids are too loud and he says it gives him a headache. Why wouldn't he lash out when he is so overly tuned in to his senses. He also gets upset if the other children arent doing what the teacher tells them to do even though he may disrupt the class to tell them that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Anyway, he doesn't have the diagnosis yet but some of the things they are doing seem to be helping while he is waiting for the diagnosis. Good luck!
Also teaching him to recognize how is feeling before he lashes out can help. For instance does he start breathing hard? Does his face turn red? You can actually make a cardboard boy and have him use the cardboard boy to tell you how he feels before he actually gets mad enough to lash out. Then you can offer him suggestions on what he can do to redirect before it gets to the point of lashing out. I guess you could say recognizing his own body signals.
I have mild Asperger's, and though I don't exhibit agressive behavior, I do exhibit intense irritability from sensory overload. This has been helped immensely ever since November, when I started the mood stabilizer Lamictal. Now, the things that made me want to lash out verbally at everyone barely bother me anymore. I like how heartcreature said about how her grandson gets so upset over how the kids are too loud and the perfume makes him nauseous. My peers- they are the number one thing that gets me upset, and just reading her description, made me remember how it was like last fall and for 18 years before that, making me grit my teeth and feel my blood boil over their immaturity, but never saying anything, and having all of my emotions and pent-up feelings explode in a breakdown, either a verbal assault on my mother, or a sobbing episode... I still get like this on the Lamictal, but not nearly as often. Obviously, unless it's life-threatening, medication probably isn't the answer for a child that young (I hate hearing about kids 12 and under on psychiatric medications), so I also commend heartcreature's response on helping him deal with his frustration. I wish my mom and I had known what was going on; I was only diagnosed last month. It would have saved us from a lot of fighting...
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
my son is hfa and a handful he is 17 and is better, we had to get him a behavior specialist and an in home councelor, he too is on lamictal and it works great he is on others but when he started lamictal it helped, your son might be starting puberty and thats when a lot of aggression starts, good luck hope you can find some help, call your psychiatrist and find out if they can provide you with case managment to help you receive some services.
Thank you to those of you who have replied to my thread...
It's funny really that I go into a blind panic and have no faith in myself or my son when dealing with something 'new'.
Together we have worked out a strategy which so far is working that well that neither he nor I can believe how utterly different things are...
we sat and talked for a while about how he was feeling and what signs to look for.. He said that he hates it when people don't do what he wants them to do or when people 'disturb' him whilst he is adding random numbers in his head (something which I myself need a calculator for as he is that unbelievably fantastic!)
I asked him how he could handle those situations better and we have come up with a strategy whereby if I am around he squeezes my hand (or his own if I am not) and imagines a bucket in his head labelled 'anger'. He then imagines all his anger pouring into the bucket and he then pours the bucket down the sink... he 'empties' it away.
Thusfar I have seen him squeeze his hand on numerous occasions. His face changes from a crimson red - it almost changes colour from the neck up! It slowly goes back to its usual 'pinkish' colour, he takes two deep breaths and is back to his normal self..
I sometimes don't give him the benefit of the doubt, and I feel terribly guilty for that. He is so much more capable of dealing with his moods than I (or indeed he) give him credit for.
I think both of us are amazed at how well it is working. I have also told him that if it stops working he is not to worry. We will sit down and think of something else. I have told him that it may take many different things to work and that it is OK to be angry but not ok to hit people as a consequence of that anger.
He is also due to see a behavioural psychologist - I think this is something we will both benefit from, and I feel so much better writing this message than I did when I wrote the first one!
We're keeping our chins up and I remind myself constantly every day that on the grand scale of things his AS is more of a blessing than a hinderance.. He has made me who I am today and I love him so much for that.